Iraq is a corporate success story
Those of us who are fighting this war cannot forget that from the corporate perspective, Iraq has been triumph. What I mean is, it is a cash cow for major Multinational corporations. Companies like Haliburton, and Bechtel are making record profits over this carnage. Check out the documentary Iraq for Sale
for a brief glimpse of the incredible amount of profiteering happening right now. In fact, it's not just the arms industry that is booming. Services that used to be provided by public entities are now being performed by corporations, including even the fighting itself (Blackwater, the mercenary company owned by Erik Prince, is enjoying a tremendous increase in profits).
The reason this is important is that if you simply think of Iraq as a humanitarian and foreign policy disaster (which it is) , you will fail to understand why elite policy makers are still salivating over Iran. In fact, one of John Mccain's major policy advisers is a man named Norman Podhoretz
, a highly influential neoconservative who is absolutely dedicated to getting the US to go to war with Iran, despite the fact that even the military leadership thinks this is foolish.
Do not doubt the willingness of some of these leaders to throw us into an additional conflict. They have no qualms about starting what could be the beginning of World War 3, if it means they will be able to make money. Even Obama was pressured into saying tough words about Iran in order to appease hawkish policy makers.
Arm yourself with information: I often start my day by going to Commondreams
, a terrific alternative media site. It is but one of many more internet sources that cuts through the propaganda being thrown our way in order to get at the truth. I also recommend reading Naomi Klein's terrific new book The Shock Doctrine
which traces the profit motive behind the US' brutal foreign policy over the past half century. Indeed, Iraq is just the most recent conflict. There have been many more, and there WILL be more if we don't exercise our rights and pressure these politicians, and even SHAME them into doing the right thing if we must.
Most importantly: join a local group, write letters to your congressmen and women, letters to the editors, tell your friends about what you've read, show a documentary. Whatever it is: Do something. There is a batlle going on for the very soul of this country, and we CAN win it, but we need to be persistent and do our part. My motto is, I may not be able to do it all, but I sure can do SOMETHING.
My article on my two heroes here
Mon, Mar. 10th, 2008, 11:32 pm
Hell is one of the most destructive, neurosis-inducing concepts to come out of the human mind. A place of infinite suffering, it turns God into the Ultimate Sadist who gets excited at the prospect of inflicting unending pain on us.
I have found that one must love people in a fearless manner, one that casts out all consideration of eternal punishment. One of my favorite spiritual stories illustrates what I am trying to get at. I am paraphrasing horribly here, so bear with me:
" The Master felt that his disciple was ready. He told him: "You are ready to hear the mantra that leads to Eternal Life. I will whisper it to you now. The only warning is that you must never reveal it to anyone, otherwise, your soul will be lost forever in the torments of Hell." The Master proceeded to give the Disciple the mantra. As soon as the Disciple heard it, he went to the most public place possible and shouted the mantra to as many people as he could. The Master then knew that his Disciple had reached Ultimate Awareness."
Moral of the story: you must love others so much that you are unconcerned about your own safety. That is the path to "Salvation."
Art allows us to look at ourselves unabashedly, with no fear and no shame. The purpose of the Artist is to make him /herself vulnerable, so that others may feel that they are allowed to be vulnerable.
A lot of my friends wonder why I, as a straight Black male, support Gay Rights. The answer is simple. Why would gay marriage and relationships threaten me? As a secure man, I am more than comfortable with people living their lives however they feel like. I believe that sexual orientation is innate, and gay people have as little choice in the matter than we heterosexuals do.
I learned this lesson while living in an intentional community with a good friend of mine who is gay. Having grown up Catholic, (like me), he hated his own gay nature. If there were ever a man who would have cut out his own sexual nature in order to "please God", it was him. Furthermore, he was an exceptional human being.: compassionate, kind, patient, charitable, etc...To reduce this incredible man to his sexual orientation would be demeaning. If there is a God (which I hope and think there is), I believe that he loves my friend just as he is. I'm willing to bet my soul on this.
I have since had many good friends who are gay, and my life has been considerably enriched by getting to know them.
Don't be afraid to cross boundaries in your quest for your truth. It will lead you down some interesting, rewarding paths.
Last thing: I believe that is the duty of heterosexuals to be vocally supportive of gay rights. This is a deal breaker for me. Human rights include EVERYBODY, period. Peace.
These new internet communication tools (Myspace, Facebook, etc...) tantalize us with the illusion of intimacy. The social networking sites dangle the golden carrot of Fulfillment in front of us. "If no one understands me", the New Logic goes "my fantasy Internet mate will." Illusion. Always illusion.
What is it about the human personality that keeps thinking that Life is Elsewhere,
as Kundera says? Why can't we accept every second as it is offered to us as is, with no illusions about the future?
I am the guiltiest party here. I keep thinking that "something better" is coming around the corner, whereas the Task and the Glory is in taking up one's Cross and bearing graciously with the daily stuff of existence, as imperfect as it is.
However, where would art be without yearning, without Eternal Longing? The human being is a Paradox.
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2008, 06:48 pm
I am a proud feminist. That is, I believe that women and men have equal rights to develop their potential to the fullest. My mother, an extraordinary single mother taught me the importance of respecting women's particular struggles, and I am grateful for it.
The dating game is still harder for women than it is for men. As a guy, I can approach any woman on the street or in a public place and (politely) hit on her without any fear. As long as I am respectful, I can do this over and over again until I meet someone with whom I "click" with. If a woman engaged in the same behavior, many uninformed men and women would consider her a "whore" or a "slut."
Being a man, I get props by society for every attempt I make, even if I swing and miss. If a woman did this, she would be considered too "wild" or "loose", like Zora Neale Hurston's emancipated black woman protagonist in "Their Eyes Were Watching God."
Of course, this isn't an invitation for women to adopt the worst traits of men. Recently, I found out about a Facebook group called 30 reasons a girl should call it a night
. It is full of pictures of young women passed out at parties. The owners of the group call their stance "feminist." I couldn't disagree more. These women are over-compensating in reaction to a society that both fetishizes their sexuality and asks them to bottle it and never acknowledge it. Going out, partying, etc...is easy. It's much harder to own one's sexuality without fear, but without resorting to sexually dangerous behavior. It IS a dangerous world out there, and I wouldn't recommend sexual recklessness.
While a true feminist owns his/her own sexuality, he/she is also in control of his/her body. This is a hard road for women to travel in order to get past the false mother/whore dichotomy.
I am trying to figure out how to be an ally to women, while dealing with my own internal issues. Women, in my life, have been both a gift and a challenge. Once again, perhaps there is meaning in the struggle.\
Wed, Jan. 16th, 2008, 11:23 pm
Musings on God
The conviction that God doesn't exist is just as simple minded as the conviction that He (She/It) does. You can no more prove God's Absence than you can prove God's Presence. Those who can grasp this at a soul level, are the forgers of the new spirituality. Nietszche, a tragically misused and misunderstood philosopher, understood this. While he is famous for the aphorism, "God is Dead", what most people don't understand is that this was a terrifying prospect to Nietzsche. He did not relish the death of the traditional religious order. He stood with Dostoyevsky in contemplating the scariest question of all: "If God is dead, everything is permitted." To lesser minds, this appears as a liberation. However, anyone paying attention realizes that this chains us to the rack of existence without a rudder. If there is no ultimate Arbiter, where do we go for Authority? Who gets to decide what is Good and What is Evil? We are still struggling with the same question: Is there inherent meaning and order in the universe, or are our actions futile?
When thinking of this, I consider the cell. It is technically a biological organism/entity of it own with the power to reproduce. I am not enough of an expert in biology to elaborate on its wondrous mechanism, but it is clear that if the cell did have a form of consciousness, it probably would not be aware of the entity called "The Body". It doesn't mean that The Body doesn't exist. It simply means that the cell is too small a part of the body to conceive of the overall organism.
Thus it is with humanity and God. We are too small a part of this cosmos to be able to grasp the meaning of it all at our Human level. But perhaps there is an ultimate meaning worked out by a higher Intelligence.
There is much to ponder here; a lifetime's worth...
Tootin' my own horn here :). I'm pretty proud of this piece I wrote for the Peace Newsletter. Check it out here
As I stare at Ladies talking of Love at 2d Story
Heat plumes waft
From coffee cup
Aromatize this sulfur
Air with eccentric
Words singe the space,
Wets love's burn.
A Virgin named
Me with fruitful eyes
Eyes. She births
A funky Grendel.
I hear music
In this conspiracy
Note: 2d Story is my favorite local bookstore and coffee hangout.